Tag: local and handmade

Review and Giveaway: No Clasp Hoop Earrings (closed)

No clasp hoop earrings by Eluna Jewelry Designs.

I was recently contacted by April Williams of Eluna Jewelry Deigns to do a review of her hoop earrings. It has been a long time since I have blogged about product reviews and I love to help out fellow Etsyers, so I jumped at the opportunity.

When I first opened April’s e-mail I saw basic hoop earrings. I immediately thought to myself, they look nice, but what makes them special? I then noticed a little loop at the end of the earring, rather than a straight piece and back clasp. After reading through the details I realized these hoops were clasp free.

As a very bad jewelry owner, clasp free anything is ideal. I have lost so many earring backs simply taking my earring off. There must be a black hole hidden in the tile of my bathroom. As the earring back falls I hear the final “ping” as it hits the floor, never to be heard from or seen again. Then there are the days where halfway through my workday a student will ask why I only have one earring on. Somehow they jump out of my ears and with my daily routine of being everywhere on campus, there is little to no chance of recovery.

Long story short, I was on board with this product before April shipped it to me. I couldn’t quite grasp how these would work, I am a visual learner, but figured it couldn’t be too complicated. April shipped them out and I eagerly awaited their arrival.

I opted for the medium size sterling silver backless hoop earrings. All of her products are made from quality metals such as sterling silver, 14 kt gold, copper, and niobium, a metal I had never heard of. I learned it is a hypoallergenic metal that can come in multiple colors. Since I am lacking a set of hoops (crazy, I know) in my earring collection, I thought this was the best way to go. I also like to review the “bread and butter” products of a seller, since these are typically the most moved and most popular items.

As soon as the package arrived I handed the babies over to my hub and ran upstairs to try them on. The package included instructions, the earring should be placed through the back of my earring hole. What should have clicked as soon as I pulled up images of her jewelry finally clicked when I had the earrings and instructions in hand. You thread the non-loop end through the back of your ear and the loop rests agains the back of your lobe.

My immediate reaction was, “well this isn’t going to be easy.”  But it was much better than I expected. It only took a few tries to line it up before it came through. Since then I have gotten much better at the process, and I have to admit I have had a lot of practice wearing these over the last two weeks.

The size was just what I was looking for and the wire is nice and thin. The earrings are incredibly light and look delicate. It’s so nice to have this basic style in my collection, they have become regulars in my rotation.

I am also a big fan of the fact that April makes and ships these out of Raleigh, NC. I love supporting fellow artists and local, handmade, southern products. Her prices are extremely reasonable, this style lists for just $20.

In addition to sending me a pair to try out, April has also sent me a pair to giveaway to one lucky reader. All you have to do is visit April’s Etsy shop here or website here and comment below with your favorite item. You can get one bonus entry if you subscribe to my blog (simply fill out the form at the bottom of this post) and follow her Etsy shop, comment again letting me know you are following both of us. The winner will be randomly selected on Sunday, April 29th. They will have 24 hours to respond to my e-mail before another winner is selected.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my latest product review and read my blog! Check out my other posts here, teaching products here, and my Etsy shop here. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Backless Hoop earrings by Eluna Jewelry Designs.

Craft Fairs: Setting Up My Outdoor Booth

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After a year of collecting the necessary parts, I finally set up my outdoor booth.

On a very hot day in March, I spent a day in pursuit of a booth picture. My hubby and I spent the afternoon pulling out my tent, grid panels, “S” hooks, tables, decor, and of course, artwork. I loved watching all the pieces finally come together.

After three years of dabbling in indoor art shows I decided I wanted to expand to outdoor shows. They are more frequent and have a lot more foot traffic than the indoor exhibits. After finally deciding it was time to make the transition, I began looking for shows to apply for. Every single one required a picture of the booth set up in order to apply. This wasn’t something I was going to be able to submit, and see what happens. I was going to have to invest a lot of up front money in the hopes of being accepted to a show.

Over the next year I spent hours on Craigslist, garage sale and discount websites. Slowly, but surely, the components came together. The tent came first, I finally gave in and bought one new. A few months after the tent was purchased a coworker contacted me about selling his booth parts. He tried selling his artwork for a year before deciding it just wasn’t for him. I was able to get six grid panels and weights from him. I then pulled tables from my indoor set up, two of the three panels I use to display work at indoor shows, and hanging supplies.

After getting all the pieces it still took months for me to work up the motivation to set it up. For hours I was running in and out of my house hauling artwork. I quickly realized I would never be able to do this solo. The tent is too cumbersome and the panels are too heavy. My first lesson in outdoor festival participation is making sure Nick is always available for set up and break down.

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I decided I wanted my largest pieces along the back wall. They helped fill the space, and would hopefully catch the eye of passerbys. The trickiest part I have to figure out is where to set myself up. I enjoy having a table to hide behind. I am a passive seller. Perhaps I would earn more money if I pushed my products on people, but I want them to purchase one of my pieces because they feel connected to it. My tiny little table is my comfort zone. My safety net, preventing me from getting my hopes up as people come in and peruse my work.

DSC_3750 I decided to hang my letter pieces on the right side panel, and my 6″x6″ silhouette paintings on the left side panel. My hope is these pieces will be more approachable as people walk by. They may assume the large pieces are out of their price range, but with $35 and $25 price tags, these are easy to pick up and take home.

I also wanted to set up a table with my letter prints, at $10 each these are an even better impulse buy item. I decided these would be best set up next to my letter encaustics and extending slightly out of my booth to break up the space.

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One issue that always lurked in the back of my mind was how my encaustics would stand up to summer Georgia heat. I got a little taste of it during the practice set up, the pieces that were directly in the sun began to melt. It was worse case scenario. After all the time and work I put into my set up, I was now questioning whether or not I was even going to be able to do this at all.

As soon as I discovered the melting pieces, I snapped my pictures, and began disassembling. As I carefully took each piece down, I examined it for signs of tackiness and liquid wax. Luckily, only the pieces in direct sunlight showed signs of the wax turning to liquid. The pieces with the sun hitting the backside of them felt slightly tacky and the rest of the pieces were fine. Although I felt a little better, I was still concerned. These were only up for 30 minutes, an hour at the most, what would happen at an all day festival?

After cleaning up I began doing some research. There are brave artists out there who display their encaustic in the dead of summer at outdoor festivals. You do have to play a game of rearranging as the sun enters your tent, but it gave me hope. A lot of the sunlight was coming in through the sides of the tent, but at a festival, in theory, there will be tents on either side. I decided I just needed to give it a shot, and I applied for my first show. The Chastain Park Arts Festival, opening the first weekend of May.

6%22x6%22 Oil Painting Studies

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To ease my mind even more, I have begun mini oil paintings. These will hang in the sunlight when my encaustics have to be moved. I am ready to expand my art career, and this is the next logical step. I will not let a melting work of art get in my way.

Today I find out whether or not I have been accepted to the Chastain festival. Whether or not I make it, I have a long list of other festivals to apply to. Hopefully I will soon have an opportunity to take my booth set up out for the real deal. Stay tuned!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about my artwork by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!
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2015 Marist Holiday Traditions

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After a very successful year last year, I decided to once again participate in the annual Marist School Holiday Traditions art festival. Don’t miss this amazing event and opportunity to start your holiday shopping. The festival is opening this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Marist’s campus: 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30319. There is a $3.oo admission fee, but it is will worth the cost!

I love this event not only because of the sheer size of it, but also because of the range of items they have available. Last year I shared an area with a few jewelry artists, a ceramist, glass blower, candle maker, baker, as well as the illustrator of the very famous book and holiday tradition: The Elf on the Shelf. I packed up Saturday afternoon with a lot less artwork, a little extra money in my pockets, and an assortment of purchases I couldn’t help but make as I hung out with these fellow artists for the day.
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For this festival I will have my standard items, encaustic letter paintings, 6″x6″ silhouette paintings, and letter prints. In addition, I will also have some new encaustic collages, carvings, and other mixed media items. Items range in price from $10.00 to $850.o0. My set up will look much the same as it did last year (pictured below) but with some of my latest creations on display. Check out my Facebook page here for more updates with pictures on what I will have available.


marist craft fair

Find out more information about this annual event on their website here. I hope to see you this weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

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Visual Journal Page 10: My Hands

Visual Journal Page 10-My Hands

It was a normal afternoon. I was in my car, on my daily commute home, half listening to NPR, half day dreaming, trying to keep my mind off of the building traffic.

Suddenly, something caught my attention on the radio. A story was being covered about an artist who was punished for drawing a political cartoon. His punishment was beyond my comprehension. They cut off his hands.

A simple drawing, a few lines of text, being bold enough to express your opinion, and losing your livelihood as a result. Stories like this make me appreciate the country I live in. While we have our own political issues, and while the constant rantings of those with views opposed to my own wear me down, it is their right to express their thoughts and opinions. Instead of listening to their right to speak, I will exercise my right to not listen, change the channel, mute the sound, or walk away. He expressed his basic human right to share his thoughts and opinions, yet he was punished.

He lost his hands.

As an artist it is difficult for me to comprehend the position this person was forced into. I can imagine his moment of inspiration and the risk taking I admire so much in others. I bet he felt motivated to try and create change in an environment that desperately needs it. Instead, he became a passing tale, one of thousands, in one ear out the other, a continuation of a horrific true story.

I hope his action and the reaction will not be in vain. Years after the “event” it still seems as though change will never come to certain areas. However, it may take a thousand more stories like his to force equality, freedom of expression, and a new power. His story may not have directly impacted his government at this point, but it directly impacted me. It will continue to impact my world view and appreciation of my gift of art and ability to use my hands.

Perhaps I will never have the courage he had. I don’t know if I could risk my passion for the possibility of change. All I know for sure is without my hands I would be lost.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Sharpie (multiple colors)
  • Pencil
  • Book pages

HOW TO

While planning out this visual journal page, I first decided I wanted it to look like I was bleeding art and I wanted a stark contrast between my hands and the “blood.” I decided the best way to create that contrast was to use a combination of pencil and sharpie, realism and a pop art feel.

I began the visual journal page by sketching out my hands. Once I felt good about the outline, I began shading them in. I used a standard pencil, and a blending stump to create a smooth blended texture. As I blended the pencil lead into the highlights, I continued to go back and punch up the shadows, to prevent the hands from looking like a single shade of gray. Looking back, I could push the highlights and shadows more. If you include pencil drawings, prevent smearing by spraying the page with fixative once you are finished.

Once the hands were complete, I added the sharpie. I started at the wrists, making it look like they were splitting apart, separating my hands from my arms. I bleed the sharpie into the background using exaggerated drop designs and swirls, and filling them in with color. I went straight into the background with the sharpie with a loose plan. I wanted it to look more spontaneous than planned out.

To finish the page I wrote the words on a separate, torn out book page. I cut the words out, and placed one per finger on the page. Interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page using a combination of pencil and sharpie to create contrast. Try to find a balance between the two materials, you don’t want the sharpie to overpower the pencil.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!

17th Annual Wesleyan Artist Market


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For the third year, I am participating in the annual Wesleyan Artist Market, in Peachtree Corner’s, GA. They are celebrating their 17th year, with tons of artists, a children’s activity area, live performances, food trucks, and amazing local and handmade products. One of my favorite things about the Artist Market is a portion of the sales is donated to the Fine Arts department of Wesleyan School. As one of the art teachers at Wesleyan, I love this aspect of the market. It means that every year, each Fine Arts teacher gets to submit a “wish list” of items large and small they would like to add to their classroom. This funding has helped me start glass fusing in my classes, create a sculpture garden, and start saving towards a pug mill. They help our programs continue to grow and help enrich our students lives by supporting the arts.

With Mother’s day on the horizon, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few gifts, as well as spoil yourself. Items range in price from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. You will find baked goods, pottery, birdhouses, jewelry, oil paintings, mixed media, and photographs. Read more about the artists and schedule of events here.

The market will be open starting tomorrow!

5405 Spalding Drive, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092

Thursday, 4/30: Opening Night 7pm-9pm

Friday, 5/1: 9am-6pm

Saturday, 5/2: 10am-4pm

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My set up from last year (forgive the blurry, dark picture). I have some of the same pieces, including my letter encasutics, letter prints, and mini 6″x6″ encaustics, and some new pieces large and small.

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I have been experimenting more with carving into the encaustic wax, and I have a new carved birch tree piece that will be available at the market.

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This year I also plan to put out a few of my pottery pieces. Come check out my handmade mugs, bowls, and new slip cast pieces.

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Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word about my blog and the Wesleyan Artist Market by sharing with others. I hope to see you this week!
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